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Sterlite Told To Shut Plant Following Gas Leak

Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd was yesterday directed by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to close down its copper factory near Tuticorin in the state immediately following Saturday's gas leak from the plant which resulted in the hospitalisation of about 90 persons.

In a press release here, pollution control board chairman M Devaraj said the industry had been functioning for the past five months even it contravened the conditions stipulated by the board in the consent order.

On July 5, about 90 persons in the vicinity of the industry were hospitalised on complaints of breathing problem, eye irritation and vomiting, the release said adding on a preliminary inquiry by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, it is ascertained that the problem has been caused due to the inhalation of sulphur dioxide emission from the unit.

Since the industry contravened the conditions stipulated by the board in the consent order, it has been directed to close immediately, the release said adding that detailed investigation will be taken up separately.

Meanwhile, the condition of five women, who were among those admitted to the government hospital at Tuticorin after inhaling the gas on Saturday, were stated to be serious.

Hospital sources said over telephone that the five were being kept in the intensive care unit.

The condition of the rest were stable, the sources added.

The women were employed in a flower export company situated near the copper smelter plant and were rushed to the hospital when they complained of breathing problem after inhaling the gas.

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First Published: Mon, July 07 1997. 00:00 IST